Commitment to civility continues to grow

April 6, 2012

For the third year in a row, Concordians have stepped up to sign a public “Civility Pledge” sponsored by the Year of Peace Committee.

This year’s pledge — with 312 signatures — was published in today’s Concordia Blade-Empire newspaper (Friday, April 6) and is available as a downloadable PDF; just CLICK HERE.

In 2010, when the committee first introduced the Civility Pledge, it garnered 244 signatures. Last year that number grew to 299.

People signing the pledge promise to be “civil in my public discourse and behavior” and “respectful of others whether or not I agree with them” and to “stand against incivility when I see it.”

Sister Jean Rosemarynoski, who chairs the Year of Peace Committee, said the Civility Pledge is particularly important in this presidential election year.

“Civility means being respectful despite our differences of opinion,” she said. “We want to get the message out, and then encourage everyone to live that message: That all people must be treated with dignity and respect.”

The Year of Peace Committee came together in late 2009 as a result of an “interest group” at the Community Needs Forum working lunches hosted by the Sisters of St. Joseph.  Anyone who wants more information about the continuing Concordia Year of Peace or would like to be part of the committee may contact Sister Jean at 785/243-2149 or by email at sisterjean@csjkansas.org.

Each year the Blade-Empire has generously donated space to publish the signatures.

 

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Feb. 17, 2012: Civility Pledge helps us all build harmony, by Holly Boley and Will Strommen

February 17, 2012

“Civility costs nothing, and buys everything,” Mary Wortley Montagu said.

We both believe in that quote. To us it means that just a simple act of civil behavior can get you far in life. Once again the Concordia Year of Peace Committee is asking everyone in the community to join together to promote civility in public discourse and behavior.

The first challenge in the Civility Pledge is, “I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.” This truly boils down to just doing the right thing. If there is any thought in your mind that would lead you to believe an action is wrong, chances are it is. Remember though, “Sometimes the right thing and the hard thing are the same thing.”

The second challenge is to be respectful of others whether or not you agree. It is human nature to have your own opinion. How we portray that opinion is a direct line to a person’s character. Now don’t get us wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a healthy debate. But, at the end of the day, you will have to accept the fact not everyone is the same.

The final challenge is to stand against incivility when you see it. As members of the school’s Friends of Rachel club, this is our motto.

Whether or not you, personally, have experienced bullying, it is a part of everyday life no matter how old you are. When walking through our halls, we occasionally see bullying but we have also seen students stand up to the bully. Due to anti-bullying speakers and clubs, our school has seen improvement but we still have some ways to go in this area. Even though standing up to a bully is very difficult to do, we feel it is a skill all students and adults in the community need to strengthen.

The Year of Peace and the Civility Pledge is a great way to make people aware of the problems in our community and ways to promote civility. This will help make Concordia and Cloud County residents have better relationships and harmony. We hope you will all sign it!

(Copies of the Civility Pledge will be available to sign at Frank Carlson Library, or you can download a copy for yourself at www.csjkansas.org/year-of-peace/)

— Will Strommen is a junior at Concordia High School and is the son of David and Anita Strommen.  Holly Boley is a senior at Concordia High School and is the daughter of Mark and Connie Boley.